The SKS is an immensely popular rifle in New Zealand. Whether it’s for budget-conscious hunting or recoil-reduced plinking, there are plenty of reasons to have one or two of these fun-makers in your gun safe. However, if you’ve picked up your favourite communist rifle and found that the grouping is out, you’re going to need to invest in a front sight tool – something I’ve recently done. Here are my do’s and don’t of this process.
This is what you should do when buying a front sight tool
You should definitely shop around. How much are they at the gun store – 50 bucks? Forget that. Go to Quartermaster Supplies and pick one up for $20. Most tack-on accessories for milsurp rifles can be found there for cheap. I paid $28, including all tax and couriered to my work. Sure beats paying almost twice as much at some of the big-name stores, and wasting time and petrol too.
You will probably need to file down one edge of the tool. I think these would fit an AK-style rifle without it (don’t have one on hand to check), but you’ll definitely need to shave off one of the inside edges of the U-shaped device, so that it can accommodate the round post-protector ring. This took me all of 5 minutes with a file, and a quick sand to debur. Just one edge is fine – you can flip it around to adjust the other way.
Sighting in should be done with the FORS principle in mind. That is Front Opposite, Rear Same. If you move the front sight to the left, the point of impact shifts to the right. If you raise the post, the POI will move down. If that just doesn’t make sense, check out the video below. This guy explains it fairly well – and it’ll save me repeating myself.
This is what you should not do when buying a front sight tool for the SKS
Do not try and drift the sight across with a hammer and punch. I have – naively – tried this, and not only is it frustrating, but you’ll soon end up with scuffs all over your bluing and you probably won’t move it much in the end. Spend the $28 – it’s worth it.
Don’t adjust your front sight while the gun is loaded. Seriously. Load one round at a time when sighting in if you have to, but don’t put your hand near the dangerous end of the rifle, and your body or face over the action when it’s loaded. Doesn’t that just sound like a recipe for disaster? The best safety is an empty chamber.
Don’t try and sight it in alone, unless you want a long and frustrating day at the range. Get someone on a spotting scope telling you where you’re impacting – it’s easier, and it’s always nice to have company.
You shouldn’t assume one shot is enough to determine where the rifle is shooting. I prefer to shoot a group of two or three before adjusting iron sights on a rifle like this at 100 or 200 yards. If it was a scoped target rifle on a bipod, with a more accurate round, then yes, one shot would be enough to figure out where to move your POA.
And lastly, don’t sight in with your plinking ammo and expect it to be spot-on with your good stuff. Sight in with the ammo you need to be most accurate with. The difference isn’t much, but the SKS can sometimes need all the help it can get when it comes to extracting every last bit of accuracy out of it. At least most bullets are of a similar weight and diameter when it comes to the SKS, so there won’t be a great deal of difference.